Shastri bats for Ben Stokes’ appointment as England Test captain; shares advice for ECB’s new director of cricket

Rob Key has been appointed as managing director of England men's team.

Rob Key | Getty ImagesAfter the 4-0 humiliation in the Ashes 2021-22, the England squad and team management underwent a massive overhaul.

The likes of Chris Silverwood and Graham Thorpe were sacked as coaches while senior pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been axed from the side.

England’s Test and limited-overs teams are currently without a full-time coach. Paul Collingwood played the role of interim head coach in the West Indies, where England suffered a 1-0 defeat in the three-Test series, resulting in Joe Root’s resignation as Test captain as well.

Following the Ashes debacle, Sir Andrew Strauss replaced Ashley Giles as ‘Director of Cricket’ on an interim basis. It was only last week that former England batter-turned-commentator Rob Key took over the role from Strauss.

Amid the recent development in English cricket, former India head coach Ravi Shastri weighed in on Key’s appointment as ‘Director of Cricket’.

See Also: “I had a thick skin”, Ravi Shastri claims there was a “gang of people” wanted him to fail as coach

Shastri feels Key will need to develop a “thick skin” similar to the Dukes ball in order to fulfill his responsibilities in the new role.

“Rob will develop this as he does the job, because every day you are judged. And I am glad he has a lot of captaincy experience from his time at Kent, because communication with the players is absolutely paramount,” he said in an interview to UK’s ‘The Guardian’ newspaper.

According to Ravi Shastri, national teams across the cricketing world function in a pretty similar fashion.

“Rob may have more work with the domestic game but, when it comes to the national team, it is very similar. The most important thing is getting among the players and setting a tone from the outset: what you believe in, what you think of them and changing the mindset to compete and win.

“You have to be bullish and brutish in wanting to achieve that. For us, and now England, it was about setting the challenge of winning abroad, big time. I was very firm when it came to team culture: all the prima donnas and all that shit, that had to go out of the window early,” he explained.

Shastri believes Rob Key needs to address the issues by speaking with former Test captain Joe Root.

“Rob will have an adjustment period to understand the issues and will need to speak in detail with Joe Root for his experiences as Test captain. But in my 24 years [commentating], I did not miss a beat or a ball of Indian cricket.

“And he (Key) will have covered a huge amount too. So you’re not lagging behind by an inch, you’re abreast of what a team requires but also what other teams are doing. You should be able to leapfrog over all those early issues and get into the nitty gritty straight away.”

For Shastri, all-rounder Ben Stokes is an ideal choice to take charge of the England Test team.

“The adrenaline of captaincy not that he needs it could fire Stokes up to be something even more than the incredible player he is now. The important relationship is with the captain the moment there is friction, things go downhill.

“But they will be fine because the England I saw last year, they have enough talent and skill to compete. There’s no doubt about that in my mind. It’s all about their mindset.”

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 26 Apr, 2022

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